Upheaval: that is the strongest current running through my life at the moment. Stronger than fashion, if you can believe. Much change is upon me, as Saturn Returns roars through my life at an unsettling pace, and I try not to plan too much, as life has such an interesting course of action. Instead I shut my eyes tight and brace myself for the next twist. Sometimes brash, harsh change is at the next turn, while a small but welcoming gesture awaits me. The mercurial mood of my life is enough to make a young woman age, which I guess is the point, but it also affords me random invitations into exciting new worlds.
Such is the one Russian style star, stylist, and Buro 24/7 editor, Mira Duma, offered me a few weeks ago upon inviting me to designer, Vika Gazinkaya’s, Fall 2012 collection preview at Five Story, a luxury menagerie of a boutique and New York’s answer to Paris’ Colette. I’ve always admired Mira’s approach to style–it’s something inspired–and these lovely Russians are making a huge, unavoidable imprint on fashion. I love how their circle dominates, while playing unapologetically with the rules of fashion.
I scooted uptown on an unseasonably muggy evening to learn more.
Mira met me at the door upon my entrance, she popping her pint-sized frame from behind the column that is Russian Tatler’s Fashion Director, Anya Ziourova, and smiled widely. She led me over to the collection, excitedly, and encouraged me to look around the boutique. It didn’t take much coaxing to explore the innards of this twisting and winding renovated townhouse cum luxury boutique, and I began snapping pics of the epic jewelry collection and “shoe garden.”
This in between oohing and ahhing over The Man Repeller’s, Leandra Medine, turn in the dressing room: she donning Carven and Vika’s mid-century inspired frocks. Vika’s garments were affixed to most of the party’s attendants, and I was just so taken with the patterns and striking cuts of these confections. Clearly there is an homage to the styles of yesteryear, with her garments’ full skirts, nipped waists, and mid-calf lengths, but Vika of course reimagined this silhouette for the modern stylish woman (most likely her closest friends).
There was structure in her designs, but one that coerced a sensuality to surface.
Then at the behest of the charming Tanzanian sales associate, Simba, I slipped on a gilded ankle bracelet that shimmied and shimmered with each hop I took about the mirrored jewelry showcase. We talked Afro-beat jazz, while I sipped on champagne and fondled statement necklaces that were far beyond my budget.
As to be expected, the Russian tongue wagged throughout the event, but we all seemed to understand one another’s mutual desperation for food, and took off for Seraphina as the evening wound down. Seated next to Yale co-ed and OOO Editor, Dorian Grinspan, I giggled over gnocchi and beastly pizza pies with the ambitious and hilarious fashion copy wunderkind. Imagine being the editor of your own magazine (an IMPRESSIVE one at that) mid-college?! Despite him playfully mocking my alma mater, watch out for him: he’s going to take over copy in a few years.
As Seraphina’s rich Italian cuisine forced me to develop a “food baby”, making my 3.1 Phillip Lim belted vest squeeze annoyingly at my waist, Mira and I talked her business plans with Vika, how to expand the collection’s reach, and the nuisances of traveling at length as a young mother without your little one. The Russians apparently marry quite young, which is as foreign and wild to us New Yorkers as the Caucus wilderness.
After dinner wrapped up, we walked off the heavy meal along the streets of the Upper East Side, I learning the fascinating tale of how Five Story came to be from the store’s owner, Claire Distenfeld ( I’ll tell you more about that conversation later in an upcoming Huffington Post piece I am doing on the store ), but I knew I needed to be getting back to Brooklyn.
I bid my Russian dolls adieu and got back to fair Bed Stuy. Disparate worlds, to be sure, but such a great twist amongst life’s recent uncertainties. //